Great Azalea Options, Goat Ranch Golf, Dazed Yetis, and great times!

It has been a wild and wooly couple of weeks here, and I hope you’ve been busy too. It hasn’t been a record-setting spring for us but it’s been better than the last few. If we could beat the weeds into submission we’d be cooking with gas here.

We’re between bloom times for our azaleas right now. Pretty much everything but the Satsukis have bloomed already and the Satuskis are just beginning to show a little color. If you’ve never tried varieties like Aikoku, Osakazuki, Tama-no-Hada, Matsuyo and Wakaebisu, you ought to think about it. They’ll be putting on a show in the next few weeks - and we all know color sells. I think you’ll be impressed.

I have always made fun of middle-aged and elderly people for telling and writing these “you should’a been there” reminiscences but I had occasion to take a stroll down memory lane a few weeks ago, and it came rather unexpectedly.

I had delivered a few plants to a landscape customer of mine here in town who was working on a project in an area where I hadn’t been in quite a while. Just for fun, I decided to take a route home that would take me past the back side of the little goat ranch of a golf course we used to have here in Lucedale. I took up golf about the time I got out of high school and played regularly until 10 or twelve years ago. There was a time when I thought if I didn’t have time to play I’d be miserable, but I don’t really even miss it. 

As I passed by the now grown up course I had a flood of memories wash over me that was a little bit surprising. I had an older brother who, I can categorically state, was one of the worst golfers in the world. But I never saw anybody who had more fun at it. He and I and our cousin and our nephew spent a lot of time out there and you never knew what might happen. The only one of us who was any good at all was our nephew, but we ridiculed him as mercilessly as we did everybody else. If you didn’t have skin like an armadillo you’d either quit and go home crying or resort to violence.

I thought about the time Lee, my late brother, and a friend of ours were playing an early morning round and Lee pushed Tim out of the golf cart (sometimes there’s nothing quite so funny as somebody else getting hurt). They were just over the crest of a little hill in the second fairway headed to find where their drives had gone. Tim was in the passenger seat with his arms crossed and his feet propped up on the dashboard with his ankles crossed. Lee caught him not paying attention and whipped the cart hard left while simultaneously giving Tim a good, stiff elbow to the shoulder. When he hit the ground his arms and legs were still crossed and he tumbled for ten yards along in the wet grass. Lee said that when Tim stood up he had a bewildered look on his face and was covered with so much grass he looked like a dazed yeti.

I also thought about the time I hit my ball into the left rough on number 8. When I found my ball amongst the pines, it was laying in little depression, but I had a pretty clear shot to the green. I took mighty rake at it (I could never think of a reason not to hit it hard) and as I watched to see where it was going, discovered that the little depression the ball had been in was actually the entrance to a yellowjacket’s nest. And they were mad. I have never been a fast runner, even way back then, but, by God, that’ll get you in gear. I ran a hundred yards or so with those things swarming me. I eventually had to pick a bunch of them off my clothes but, as fate would have it, I only had two stings. It certainly could have been much worse.

I could go on for days with golf-related stories, or stories about the gravity of life’s seemingly innocuous trivialities, but the take-home lesson for me is to enjoy each day as it comes. I am as happy now as I’ve ever been and, even if I could, I wouldn’t want to go back re-live that period of my life. But, man, it was fun.

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